Why I Chose WSU

Why I Chose Washington State University…

Employee testimonials from alumni and current employees

Ray Acuña-Luna
Academic Coordinator and Retention Specialist, College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP)
2015 College of Education alumnus

Why WSU? “I am continually amazed by the opportunities for career and professional development at WSU.” – Ray Acuña-Luna

Ray earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s of education from Washington State University. Working at WSU was not in his initial career plan. “When I first arrived in Pullman, I assured myself I would only stay for two years,” Ray notes, but when asked now to describe WSU says, simply, “home.”

“I immediately fell in love with the culture of support I sensed from the department where I was initially hired,” Ray explains. “I was moving away from all of my family and friends, and the thought of starting anew was very daunting. Although I had other options, it was clear that WSU would support me in my transition as an entry level professional.”

“Among the many things I like about WSU are the endless opportunities for collaboration with other departments and offices,” Ray continues. “WSU is a premier research university, but small enough to allow you to connect and build lasting relationships and opportunities to work in particular areas of interest.”

In his spare time, Ray enjoys life on the Palouse. “I love showing up to the theater five minutes before a movie and still finding seats,” he notes. “And the nearest hiking trail with stunning views is less than 20 minutes away.”

When asked for final thoughts about his WSU experience, Ray says “I am immensely gratefully to be part of an institution that is at the forefront of technological innovation, student-centered, and that values its employees. I arrived with very little and WSU has given me so much.”


Laura Rider Dutelle 
Graphic Designer
Marketing and Communications, WSU Vancouver

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Why WSU? “I love the community and positive energy!” – Laura Rider Dutelle

Laura was living in Boston and wanted to live (and fish, and hike) in the Pacific Northwest. She started looking for jobs and knew she wanted to work for a respected brand, particularly in higher education. Laura did Skype interviews and landed the job as the in-house graphic designer and was excited to begin her career at WSU. She flew out to find an apartment before she made the move, visited Vancouver’s beautiful campus, and fell in love.

“It’s a great atmosphere with a welcoming, fun community. It’s the best career decision I’ve made, and I’m very happy here. I’m given a lot of creative flexibility to have fun with design here. My department serves all other departments on campus, and I get to design everything from NW Crimson & Gray Magazine to our campus map, billboards to bus ads, admissions recruitment materials to program brochures. It keeps it interesting, and I never get bored. I work on a small, very collaborative team, and we constantly brainstorm together to develop integrated marketing pieces. I love the community and the positive energy at WSU Vancouver. Our campus is beautiful, which makes my photography work easy! I love that our campus is constantly growing and changing—it means my projects will evolve and bring with them new projects and challenges. I love working at WSU Vancouver. It’s a very positive working environment; the people are friendly and helpful. It’s inspiring to work around students pursuing their degrees, coming from all different backgrounds and walks of life. Our campus is beautiful (did I mention that?), and I feel lucky I get to work here every day.” –Laura



Kim Mickey

Campus Registrar, WSU Spokane
2000 College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences alumna

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Why WSU? “Because WSU cares!” – Kim Mickey

Kim loves WSU and everything about it. Raised as a third generation Coug, Kim says she was “born bleeding crimson.” At a young age she remembers attending football games with her family. Kim graduated from WSU in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in human development and a minor in psychology. Utilizing her degree, Kim began a career as a social worker for nonprofit agencies before joining WSU as an admissions counselor in 2005. WSU has always been a part of her life and she loves working for a university that means so much to her. When Kim is not working as the campus registrar in WSU Spokane’s Student Affairs office, she is spending time with her children, working on DIY projects with her husband, enjoying Pacific Northwest outdoor activities, and cheering on Cougar football! Kim says, “WSU is a great supportive university. We say we care about our students and at WSU we TRULY do! We value our staff and their efforts. I could not imagine working for a better organization than WSU. It’s been a life changing experience and I honestly do not know where I would be without Washington State University. My experience here has been wonderful!”



Jacob Murray

School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, WSU North Puget Sound at Everett
2010 & 2014 Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture alumnus

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Why WSU? “Connections!” – Jacob Murray

Jacob began his journey with Washington State University in 2006 as a freshman on the main campus in Pullman. Born and raised in the Tri-Cities area, Jacob went on to study computer engineering and credits Andy O’Fallon’s computer science course for helping him decide on his major. As a student, Jacob was a math tutor and teaching assistant for the Math department and the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. After finishing his undergraduate degree in 2010, Jacob furthered his education by pursuing a Ph.D. with the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Jacob worked as a research assistant and teaching assistant for the university until the completion of his Ph.D. in 2014.
After graduation, Jacob’s wife had a position lined up on the west side of the state. His advisor told him about an opening with WSU in Everett and everything fell into place! Today, Jacob works as a clinical assistant professor and program coordinator for the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Everett. Jacob says “It’s an honor to work for WSU, being able to coordinate a program has been a great experience. I’ve been learning fast and it has been wonderful!” In Jacob’s spare time he enjoys taking advantage of outdoor activities available in the Seattle/Everett area such as geocaching, hiking, and walking his German shepherd. Jacob emphasizes, “The connections you make in college are important, not only for your career, but for your personal life as well, GO COUGS!!”

Karina Barajas
Principal Assistant, Office of the Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer, WSU Tri-Cities
2007 College of Business and Economics alumna

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Why WSU? “Career Development!” – Karina Barajas

Karina became captivated by the Cougar-spirit when she transferred to Pullman in 2004. She spent her time as an undergrad building relationships with the campus community and became an active member in many student organizations. As a student she enjoyed the community and leadership opportunities WSU provided. One of Karina’s fondest memories as a student at WSU was meeting and making lifelong friends at the Chicano/Latino Student Center. Karina never imagined her path at WSU would continue on after she graduated from the College of Business and Economics in 2007.  She said “it was not a part of the plan, but I was fortunate to have a vacancy open up and I was hired exactly two months after graduation.”

Karina says WSU has immensely helped in her career development and she was provided the opportunity to earn her master’s in higher education while working full time. The experience and knowledge she gained during her first role in the HRS office prepared her to take and pass the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) exam and earn her national credentials. Karina currently works as the assistant to the chief of staff and operations officer at the WSU Tri-Cities campus. She loves the close proximity to her family and access to the beautiful rivers and parks the Tri-Cities area offers, in addition to the student energy that can be felt on campus and the close bonds the administrators build with students. When she travels back to Pullman, she says the “…campus is still home to me, as soon as I drive into town, my Coug-spirit rises and I feel at home.”

If you have a story that you’d like to share, please contact Human Resource Services at hrs@wsu.edu or 509-335-4521.

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